The United States accused Iran of “escalatory violence” on Friday after the country’s Revolutionary Guards announced they had confiscated a British tanker in the strategic Strait of Hormuz.
Asked about the latest incident as he departed the White House, President Donald Trump told reporters there could be more than one tanker involved.
“It could be one, it could be two,” Trump said. “We will talk to the UK. We’ll be working with the UK.”
The Swedish owner of the UK-flagged tanker Stena Impero confirmed Friday the ship had been “attacked” and was heading towards Iran.
CNN quoted an unnamed US official as saying Iran had seized a second tanker, the Liberian-flagged MV Mesdar.
“The US will continue to work with our allies and partners to defend our security and interests against Iran’s malign behavior,” National Security Council spokesman Garrett Marquis said in a statement, denouncing “escalatory violence by the Iranian regime.”
The incident comes after months of mounting tensions between Iran and the United States, which has tried to stop all oil exports from its adversary.
Hours before the latest episode came to light, the State Department explained the administration’s position in a presentation to diplomats accredited in Washington.
Some 100 envoys took part in the briefing by Brian Hook, the US pointman on Iran, who explained the Trump administration’s initiative for maritime security in the Strait of Hormuz, diplomats said.
The administration has called for a “coalition” in which navies escort their ships through the Strait of Hormuz with the United States providing command control and surveillance.
Some 20 percent of the world’s oil transits through the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow chokepoint to the Gulf.